DERRY — Yu Jie started to giggle as she tried her best to make contact with the ball.

She swung hard and popped the Wiffle ball a good distance — a great showing for her first time at bat and also playing the game.

Yu was one of 11 students who arrived at Pinkerton Academy last month as part of a long exchange tradition between the two schools.

Three teachers also made the trip.

The students are from the Chinese Tenggu School of Tianjin, a large port city north of Beijing.

Every fall, the Chinese contingent arrives in Derry to begin a week of Pinkerton activities, sporting events and tours around New Hampshire.

In the spring, Pinkerton sends its own contingent to visit China.

The exchange program began in 2004, kicking off the sister school tradition. Chinese students spend time with host families and take part in Pinkerton classes as part of their annual American journey.

Pinkerton staffer Tom Weatherby has been involved in the Chinese exchange program for many years and said Pinkerton students are always very interested in traveling to China.

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